TRAPPED by Michael Northrup
Scholastic: Scholastic Press
Released: January 1, 2011
Page Count: 232
Rating: Really liked it!
The day the blizzard started, no one knew that it was going to keep snowing for a week. That for those in its path, it would become not just a matter of keeping warm, but of staying alive . . .
Scotty and his friends Pete and Jason are among the last seven kids at their high school waiting to get picked up that day, and they soon realize that no one is coming for them. Still, it doesn't seem so bad to spend the night at school, especially when distractingly hot Krista and Julie are sleeping just down the hall. But then the power goes out, then the heat. The pipes freeze, and the roof shudders. As the days add up, the snow piles higher, and the empty halls grow colder and darker, the mounting pressure forces a devastating decision . . .
I was so excited to win a copy of Trapped from Scholastic's FirstReads contest on Goodreads! I had signed up for an ARC tour but there were still 9 or so others ahead of me, and I was dying to read this book.
First thought after finishing Trapped: It had better stop snowing soon! I unintentionally picked the worst day to read this book. The temperature swung from the 40s range down into the 20s, and the skies quite suddenly dumped about 8" of snow in the area. Being from Michigan, I am used to dealing with snow, but it's always a big bummer when the weather clears and all the snow melts, just to have it pile up again!
Anyway, back to the book. Trapped reminded me of a couple of my favorite survival books: Hatchet by Gary Paulsen and Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden. Though Scotty is not alone like Brian is in Hatchet, he still has to muster his strength and courage to get out of the situation alive. And the narration style, more than anything else, reminded me of Tomorrow. There is also a touch of Susan Beth Pfeffer's Life As We Knew It, minus the whole moon being hit by an asteroid bit, as these kids are well and truly on their own, and their survival depends on their ability to remain calm under pressure.
There isn't a ton of action - though, really, that makes sense with it just being a group of kids stuck in a school building. It's not like there's a whole heck of a lot to do. I wouldn't have minded the author including more dialogue instead of sticking to an inner monologue, though, to break up the monotony. The choice is understandable considering Scotty is telling this story to the reader after the fact, but with little dialogue and limited action, well, it's a good thing the book is relatively short, or it would have been too much to handle.
This last bit isn't related to the writing, but I loved what the art department did with the beginning page of each chapter, changing the snow level to reflect the snow level at that point in the book. Very clever!
Trapped is a book with great crossover appeal: Adventurous girls will like it, but it's definitely written with boys in mind; it's not too mature for younger readers who read above their grade level but also not too immature for reluctant readers who read below their grade level. And of course, it's something that get readers in snowy climates thinking and make readers from warmer climates realize just how good they have it! :)
This is a great winter book. If you've been thinking about picking it up but haven't done so yet, know that it's definitely a worthwhile read!